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Need: Education for Women will Stabilize Afghanistan for Peace.

As an Afghan American, I decided to take the education I received in the United States back to Afghanistan, to help rebuild my home country. With this idea in my mind and heart, I founded Aid Afghanistan for Education (AAE) in 1999, establishing five clandestine schools for young women during a time of extreme oppression.

Today, AAE has grown to operate 13 schools for girls and women throughout Afghanistan. Through this growth, the goal of AAE remains the same; to educate young Afghan females who have no other access to education, so they can improve their lives, and the lives of their families. I need your assistance today because our 13 schools are threatened with closure

As I write to you, Afghanistan is still one of the poorest countries on earth. Despite gains, 80% of the Afghan population is illiterate, polio still exists though it is eradicated in almost every other country, and a woman dies every two hours from a pregnancy-related issue.

Our work here is still direly needed. However, international aid to Afghanistan is declining, and USAID, who has been funding AAE since 2007, is no longer able to renew our grant.

Our organization is on its way to becoming self-sustainable, but we need more time. We are creating a sponsorship system, an individual donor database, reaching out to local Afghans, to Ministries, and a variety of foundations. Though we are well on the path towards being sustainable, this work does not happen quickly.

On March 17, if we do not have $486,000 to get us through the next six months, we will have to shut down our 13 schools, closing doors on our 3,104 students who are not allowed in any other school. These students are barred from formal education for multiple reasons; they may be “overage” (two or more years older than their peers), they may be one of Afghanistan’s 5.7 million returned refugees, many of whom have no paperwork, or they may be married females.

They may be like Mastura, once a cook in our school, not educated during the time of the Taliban, too old to join government schools today. Mastura enrolled in AAE, received her diploma – and is now a teacher in the same school where she was once a cook. She now supports her family and the young women in her classroom in a way she couldn't have chosen to do without AAE.

It is essential to educate this group. These girls, mostly in their teens and early twenties, are already young mothers, or most likely soon will be. A woman with education will have less children than a woman who is uneducated, and is likely to provide those she has – Afghanistan’s next generation– with greater opportunities.

We need to go on. Will you pledge whatever you can afford, to keep the girls and women of AAE in school? Is there any member who would like to individually support us as we work to bridge this gap in funding?

For these girls and women, education is life-saving. It means a chance at income, the ability to read their rights, the ability to make reproductive choices, and the chance to choose a future different from the one society handed them-- different for themselves, and different for their children.

Will you work with us? Will you help us save our schools? Please email appeal@aa4e.org to organize assistance. Of course, all donations will be U.S. tax-deductible. Individuals are also able to donate through our U.S. sister site, aidafghanistan.org

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